Evocatively named, 'Land below the Wind', Sabah is situated at the northeast corner of Borneo, below the typhoon belt in East Malaysia. Most visitors are lured by the destination's natural splendour. Its rugged landscape is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, who can climb some of the highest mountains in Malaysia, and dive one of the richest and least-spoilt underwater ecosystems in the world. Other extreme sports such as skydiving and paragliding are adding to Sabah's growing reputation as an adventure destination.
The state's spectacular environment includes one of the oldest rainforests in the world, and one of the highest mountain peaks in Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu. It stands within Kinabalu Park, which is the most visited of the region's reserves and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its incredible bio-diversity. Its two-day summit trek is popular. Sabah's diversity extends to the indigenous people of the area. Indeed, 31 different groups speaking more than 50 indigenous languages live in the region, creating a rich culture of music, dance and handicrafts.
Sabah is an expensive destination, with the only real 'budget' accommodation located in Kinabalu National Park and at Poring Hot Springs. Direct flights to Sabah are routed to the capital, Kota Kinabalu. Sadly, Sabah is losing ground in tourism, as ongoing conflict and violence against foreigners keeps many away. Travellers should check travel warnings before visiting Sabah.